Author Archives: Dmitri

Summer Update: Libraries Map, ShareThis, Visual Identity Guidelines

As the last days of summer wind down, the web team would like to introduce a couple new features we’ve just added to the CQ/AEM content development toolset, which should provide direct benefits to our end-users.

Libraries Map

For some time now we’ve been in need of new campus map to help patrons find their way to our many libraries, collections, and service points.  So we’ve just rolled out a customized Google map designed to address that need.  The data displayed in the information boxes on the map is pulled from our existing Location Entry pages and Hours Manager, which already populate LibraryWeb sidebars.  This information will always be consistent throughout the site, and can be updated at any time.

screenshot.new-libraries-map

Links to the map can be set to automatically highlight a particular location.

screenshot.new-libraries-map-infowindow

Additionally, the same component we’ve built to generate the Libraries map can also be used on any page to highlight a single location.

screenshot.new-libraries-map-small

Check it out, and let us know what you think: http://library.columbia.edu/locations/map.html

ShareThis

Another piece of functionality many of you have requested is the ability to allow users to easily share our content with other users.  So we’ve created a ShareThis widget component for just this purpose.  The component can be customized to enable sharing via up to 10 different social media channels.

screenshot.new-sharethis-component-largescreenshot.new-sharethis-component-small
In the coming weeks we’ll be updating the CQ/AEM User Guide to include details on when, where, and how to take advantage of these new components.  If you’re interested in a hands-on demonstration, sign up for our upcoming CQ/AEM Workshop on Sep. 24th.

Visual Identity & Website Guidelines

In coordination with the Libraries’ communication office we’ve recently published new Visual Identity & Website Guidelines, which can be found in the Web Development section of StaffWeb.  LibraryWeb, Hours Manager, CUL Blogs, and most of CUL’s existing web properties are already designed in alignment with these principles, but CUL’s online presence is increasingly diversified with new web applications, collaborative blogs, hosted services, and other web initiatives.  These guidelines will help ensure consistent branding, navigation, and content rendering as new CUL web properties are brought online.  Feel free to send any questions or comments about the guidelines to the WCM Help Desk (cul-wcm@columbia.edu).

CUL Blogs: The WordPress Upgrade

On April 11, after much development work and preparation, LDPD and LITO rolled out a major upgrade to the CUL blogs platform.  The move from WordPress MU (Multi-User) to WordPress MS (Multisite) was much needed and long anticipated, and will bring a variety of benefits to everyone involved with editing, supporting, and viewing CUL Blogs.Screenshot of new CUL Blogs Theme

WordPress Multisite is more secure, and will allow us to keep up with current releases going forward.  We’ll also be integrating CUL blogs with Google Analytics, and we’ll install an improved spam blocker to keep unwanted entries from blog post comments.

Along with the WordPress platform upgrade, we replaced the outdated Thesis theme with a custom theme designed by LDPD, which brings CUL blogs completely in-line with the Libraries website design, and greatly improves the viewing experience on mobile devices.  The new theme also provides a host of new features and functionality to improve the content authoring experience:

  • Provides a familiar but simplified interface and navigation.
  • Enables greater control over title and layout options for blog administrators.
  • Offers more appearance customization, such as blog colors and rotating images.
  • Allows us to easily add new functionality with plugins and custom widgets.

One important change is that we’ve updated the rich text editor, which should address some known issues with content loss while using the older version.

Another welcome addition is the integration of Akismet, which should greatly reduce the amount of spam in blog comments.  You’ll find a new spam queue on the Dashboard where flagged messages will wait for your review, and you can configure options for this feature from the Settings menu in the Dashboard sidebar.

We encourage you to spend a little time exploring the new interface and features, and we hope you’ll find this update makes working with your blogs a bit easier.  We’ll be updating our blog documentation on StaffWeb soon to reflect all the changes, so that’s always a good place to start if you need assistance.

https://culis.columbia.edu/content/staffweb/web/wcm/specialized/blogs.html

And of course you can always contact the blog support team by emailing: blogsupport@library.columbia.edu

A New Way To Request New CUL Wiki Spaces

If you’d like to request a new CUL wiki space, please use our new request form, which will streamline our processes and reduce the time it takes for us to fulfill your request:

https://culis.columbia.edu/web/forms/wiki_request.htmlScreenshot of StaffWeb Wiki Request Form

You can always find the form via the link on the CUL Wikis StaffWeb page:

https://culis.columbia.edu/web/wcm/specialized/wikis.html

As always, if you need assistance working within an existing CUL wiki space, you can send email to the wiki support alias: wikisupport@library.columbia.edu.

CUL Websites: What’s up since the CQ/AEM Upgrade

Since upgrading from Day CQ 5.4 to Adobe AEM 5.6.1 at the end of January, the LDPD web team has focused on post-upgrade clean up, but we’ve also begun working on some features enabled by the new platform.  Here’s a rundown of some of the new features which you may have already discovered on your own:Screenshot of AEM Welcome Screen and Website Console

  • Streamlined user interface
    • Unnecessary websites, consoles, tabs, buttons, links, and other features have been hidden to provide a less cluttered, more focused experience.
  • Improved content search/replace
    • Searches can now specify criteria in addition to keywords, such as Modified Date, Template, or Tags.
  • Component-level undo/redo
    • Numerous page and asset editing actions can now be undone/redone, such as creating, and deleting components, or editing a component dialog, even after changes have been saved.
  • More keyboard shortcut support
    • Many CQ/AEM interface actions can now be performed via common keystrokes, such as copy, paste, and undo.
  • Better DAM file type and metadata support
    • Quality and speed of digital asset ingestion into the DAM has been increased, automatic extraction of asset metadata has been improved, and there is enhanced support for Microsoft Office documents.
  • Scheduled Page and Asset Activation
    • Pages can be scheduled for automatic Activation or Deactivation at a future date and time.
  • Automatic link checking
    • Broken links are now clearly marked with a red symbol on pages in the authoring environment.

On the back-end, the new version is significantly more robust and resistant to data corruption, so the uptime of both our authoring environment and public websites should go up.  System configuration options have been reworked to simplify setup and maintenance, and new developer tools and libraries should allow us to more easily extend WCM with custom components, reports, and applications.

The LDPD web team will continue to use these building blocks to improve the CQ/AEM content authoring experience.   Currently we’re working on better contact management, improved support for video assets, and syncing the CQ/AEM login with your standard UNI/password.

We’re always interested in hearing feedback from contributors, so please don’t hesitate to let us know about new things you’d like to do or ways you think the content authoring experience could be improved.

New Training and Review Website

One of the many places to which we’ve applied the new LibraryWeb design is the Training and Review area within CQ. This is the place which is used as a practice area during CQ training sessions, and can be used for a variety of content development scenarios at any time afterwards.

Every CQ content contributor has their own content tree in the Training and Review area, which by default includes sample pages for both LibraryWeb and StaffWeb. If you’d like to use this space to develop content for Alumni/Friends or BTS, just send a request to the WCM Help Desk and we’ll provide you a set of sample pages with the appropriate design.

This is a great place to experiment with different ways of arranging content on your pages, and for trying out new or unfamiliar components. One common use of this space is as a place to develop an entirely new page or set of pages. Often when developing new content, or making major revisions to existing pages, it’s useful to have a way to present your work to others (who may not have access to CQ) before placing your new content in the official LibraryWeb content tree. It is now possible to navigate through pages published on the Training and Review site, making it much easier to review the content you’ve developed in your personal area:

  1. In CQ, develop new content in your personal folder in the Training and Review content tree.
  2. Activate the page(s) you want others to review.
  3. Go to the published Training and Review site. (We encourage you to bookmark it!)
  4. Navigate to your personal area and locate the page(s) you want to share with others.
  5. Copy and paste the URL of the published page(s) into an email to give others direct access to the pages you’d like them to review.

If you need to restrict access to the published pages, for example to people with Columbia IDs, or if you need any other type of assistance using the Training and Review site, please contact the WCM Help Desk.

We’d love to hear your feedback on the new Training and Review site, and learn how you think you might use this in your content development efforts. If you have any ideas about how we can improve this area and make it more useful to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Launching the New LibraryWeb

As you all are hopefully well aware, our almost year-long effort to redesign the Libraries primary public website is approaching its conclusion.  The new site will go live in soft-launch on June 3.  Hopefully all LibraryWeb content contributors are keeping up with Libraries Website Redesign Blog.  There's a lot of critical information there, so we encourage you to subscribe to make sure you're up to date with the latest announcements.

To preview the new LibraryWeb: http://preview-library.cul.columbia.edu/

To make edits to the new LibraryWeb: LibraryWeb Preview CQ Login

To make edits to Alumni/Friends, BTS, and StaffWeb continue as before: Live CQ Login

After the launch, check back here for more information about changes to the content contributor experience, as well as a preview of what's coming next with CQ, blogs, and other Web CMS updates.

StaffWeb Transition Issues

Although the new StaffWeb is live and most of the content is now managed by CQ, the Libraries' Web CMS, the LDPD web team is still finishing up some remaining tasks to complete the transition.  Here's the list of outstanding issues, and we'll keep this up to date as we work to resolve them over the next couple of weeks:

Top Priority Tasks:

  • Login to StaffWeb fails when using the Internet Explorer web browser.
    • Update 2012-09-06: Some versions of IE are now working.
    • Currently it is not possible to login to StaffWeb using IE (Microsoft Internet Explorer) web browser.  This issue actually affects other CU services as well, including Google Calendar.  CUIT is actively working on the problem, although a timetable for a fix has not been announced.  We'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, all other browsers should work.
  • Some forms from various units have not yet been migrated to new StaffWeb.
    • Update 2012-09-16: Migration of the CUL Email Alias Maintenance Form is in progress.  All other forms have been migrated.
    • We're still working to migrate a number of the web forms available on StaffWeb.  This transition should be completed soon.  In the meantime versions of the old forms should continue to be fully functioning and directly accessible through links on the new site.

Completed Tasks:

  • Login required to access the StaffWeb homepage.  (Fixed)
    • Unlike old SWIFT, the new StaffWeb currently requires you to login to access top-level pages, including the StaffWeb homepage.  We expect to have the old behavior restored soon, keeping in mind that StaffWeb is for CUL/IS staff, and access to anything but top-level menu pages will still require UNI login.
  • StaffWeb search is still indexing old SWIFT rather than new StaffWeb.
    • Update 2012-09-06: CUIT is in the process of updating the GSA infrastructure.  That work is expected to be comleted by 2012-09-16, afterwhich the Libraries will be able to make the necessary changes to StaffWeb search indexes.
    • The CUIT Google Search Appliance (GSA) which powers the Libraries' website searches including StaffWeb has not yet been reconfigured to index the new website.  We're working with CUIT to make the updates and expect the results to reflect those changes soon.

Deferred Tasks:

  • StaffWeb search still has the old SWIFT look and feel.
    • The StaffWeb search results screen is among a few services outside of the CQ Web CMS which needs to have its design updated to the new look and feel.  We'll be working to update the search interface as soon as developer resources become available.
  • Some content, primarily related to web development, has not yet been migrated to new StaffWeb.
    • There is still some content (image galleries, sitemaps, etc.) which remains to be migrated into the CQ Web CMS.  This work will be pursued as time allows in the context of competing priorities.  Most of this content is related to web development, and remains available on old SWIFT.  If there's particular content you consider a priority for migration, please let us know.
  • Staff-oriented blogs still have the old SWIFT look and feel.
    • Staff-oriented blogs are among a few services outside of the CQ Web CMS which need to have their design updated to the new look and feel.  This work will be deferred until after the completion of competing priorities and in the context of other upgrades to the blog infrastructure.

If you encounter missing content or other problems with using StaffWeb, please notify the web team by sending email to staffweb@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and support!

– The LDPD Web Team